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religion, and our highest attainments in moral excellence, yet the ultimate object of christianity with respect to man-that in relation to which every other purpose is collateral and subordinate-is declared to be his restoration to the moral image of the Creator. “ Ye must be born again," is the language of the faithful and true Witness. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” “ For this purpose the Son of God was manifested to destroy the works of the devil.” He “ gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."*

In order therefore to ascertain whether we are the subjects of the personal religion which binds us to God and associates us with all his holy creatures, the question is, does our faith in Christ coincide with the moral ends of revelation? And with a view to bring this all-interesting inquiry to a safe issue, never should it be forgotten that true piety has its foundation in deep humility. By teaching us our guilt and helplessness, and fixing our penitential regard on the Saviour, as the only ground of hope, it brings the soul into the attitude of prostration before the throne of the Most High-the only becoming position of rational creatures, and especially of those who

* John iii. 7. 1 Thess, iv. 3.

1 John iji. 8. Titus ii. 14.

have wandered far from God. And all other virtues follow in the train of this celestial grace. In proportion as the christian is imbued with this spirit, will he be open to the impressions of redeeming love, and be disposed to seek by prayer and meditation daily supplies of grace from the fulness which there is in tbe Son of God. It is thus that faith becomes the principle of vitality within him, the well-spring of his joy, and the root of every virtue. It imparts at the same time purity and peace, even the peace which passeth all understanding. Laying hold of the arm of Omni. potence, it rises above the debasing fear of man, wages a constant warfare with sin, and triumphs over the world. It becomes increasingly smitten with the beauties of holiness, and longs to be arrayed with them in the Paradise of God. It loves the brotherhood, and breathes towards all men the spirit of good will.

It feeds upon the truth with a growing relish, and with a piercing eye it penetrates the cloudy atmosphere of sense, descries at a distance the goodly land of promise, catches glimpses of its glory, and occasional sounds of unearthly melody proceeding from its joyous inhabitants, and at length takes its flight to that happy region.

Thus piety is not the mere form, but the power of godliness; not an outward and occasional practice, but an inwrought and vital principle; the

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habit of the soul, the life of the moral man, transfusing its energy into every part of his mental constitution, discovering the appropriate symptoms of spiritual vitality, and producing a growing conformity to the mind that was in Christ, “ who hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps.”

They who are strangers to this divine principle have the greatest encouragement to seek it for themselves. Faith is the gift of God. It is the prerogative of the Holy Spirit to soften the heart and bring the soul of man into full and efficacious contact with the objects and discoveries of revelation. The promise is, “ A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you : and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”* And the blessing is freely offered to us. To encourage our application for this invaluable boon, the Supreme Being addresses us in terms of peculiar condescension and tenderness : “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”+ There is in the Redeemer a plenitude of mercy and grace, which is sufficient to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.* But it is only to be obtained during the present life in answer to persevering prayer: “ Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”+

* Ezekiel xxxvi. 26, 27.

+ Luke xi. 13.

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CHAPTER X.

REMARKS ON THE CAOICE OF FRIENDS, AND

ON THE

FORMATION OF THE MATRIMONIAL COMPACT.

We come into the world ignorant of the relative situation in which we stand to the living beings around us.

But as we advance in stature and power of discernment, we begin to reflect upon our condition, and soon find ourselves connected with society by various ties arising out of place, parentage, fortune, and other adventitious particulars, ayer which we had no manner of control. The relations which exist independently of our choice, may be more or less favourable to our welfare and usefulness in life. The advantages, small or great, which these original connexions bring are not, however, boons placed at the absolute disposal of those who possess them. There is a responsibility attached to them corresponding with their amount and value. The supreme Ruler cannot but require that they should be conscien

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